Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast: a reader tots up PolitiFact's truthiness ratings (CW: no clue as to what calendar period the analysis covers). "Politifact picks and chooses what topics it covers; it itself is not unblemished in its impartiality.... Based on the following leaders - Romney, Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Gingrich, Perry, Santorum for the GOP and Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, and Clinton (Hillary) for the Dems, we get this graph":
"Romney, for some reason, seems attached to the Big Lie":
Bill Clinton, Off-message Again. Jeff Cox of CNBC: "Former President Bill Clinton told CNBC Tuesday that the US economy already is in a recession and urged Congress to extend all the tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year. In a taped interview aired on 'Closing Bell,' the still-popular 42nd president called the current economic conditions a 'recession' and said overzealous Republican plans to cut the deficit threaten to plunge the country further into the debt abyss." With video clip. ...
... Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post: "While the year-end burst of tax hikes and spending cuts known as Taxmageddon promises to be messy, it would set the nation on a course to smaller budget deficits and lower debt, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.... There is already talk of postponing a decision, perhaps by temporarily extending current tax policies. That would avoid a short-term fiscal shock that the CBO has said is likely to throw the economy back into recession during the first part of next year." ...
... Ezra Klein has the charts.
** Joe Stiglitz in the Guardian: "... the American dream is a myth. There is less equality of opportunity in the United States today than there is in Europe -- or, indeed, in any advanced industrial country for which there are data." Thanks to contributor Carlyle for the link. Update: sorry about the earlier link fail. Here's Terry Gross of NPR interviewing Stiglitz; thanks to Julie for the link:
... Here's the Stiglitz article in Vanity Fair, which Terry Gross mentions. It's an excerpt from his new book, Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%. "As the widening financial divide cripples the U.S. economy, even those at the top will pay a steep price."
Ben Geman of The Hill: "Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is breaking with Mitt Romney and some Capitol Hill Republicans by expressing support for federal green-energy programs, including the one that provided loan help to the now-bankrupt Solyndra. Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she supports continuation of the Energy's Department loan-guarantee program for green energy, and more broadly backs a federal role in boosting market deployment of alternative energy." CW: Murkowski should become a Democrat.
E. J. Graff of American Prospect: "When white men go into 'women's work,' they earn more money and move up more quickly, out-earning equally qualified women. Because, you know, white guys are just better at everything."
Jamelle Bouie: Republicans are holding the economy hostage until they get their way.
Laurie Goodstein & Rachel Donadio of the New York Times: "The Vatican's doctrinal office on Monday denounced an American nun who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School for a book that attempted to present a theological rationale for same-sex relationships, masturbation and remarriage after divorce. The Vatican office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that the book, 'Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,' by Sister Margaret A. Farley, was 'not consistent with authentic Catholic theology.' ..." ...
... Maureen Dowd: "Just the latest chapter in the Vatican's thuggish crusade to push American nuns -- and all Catholic women -- back into moldy subservience." ...
... Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post: "Twenty-four hours ago news broke that the Vatican had condemned the book 'Just Love:A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics' a publication by a prominent nun-theologian that disagrees with church teaching on same-sex marriage, masturbation and remarrying after divorce. Monday morning, the book's reported ranking on Amazon: 142,982. Tuesday afternoon, after a day of furious news coverage of the Vatican censure: It's at #16." CW: Thanks for the plug, Joe Ratzinger. And Oprah thought she could move books. Celibate thugs are just better at everything.
Pam Belluck of the New York Times: "Labels inside every box of morning-after pills, drugs widely used to prevent pregnancy after sex, say they may work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman's uterus.... Such descriptions have become kindling in the fiery debate over abortion and contraception.... But an examination by The New York Times has found that the federally approved labels and medical Web sites do not reflect what the science shows. Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say."
Steve LeBlanc of the AP: "It's the single most contentious element of President Barack Obama's health care law: the requirement that nearly everyone have insurance or face a financial hit. But in Massachusetts, the only state with a so-called individual mandate, the threat of a tax penalty has sparked little public outcry since the state's landmark health care law was signed in 2006 by the governor, Mitt Romney." CW: gee, sounds like a campaign line for Obama, doesn't it?
Health Day via the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Older adults who say they've had a life-changing religious experience are more likely to have a greater decrease in size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain critical to learning and memory, new research finds. According to the study, people who said they were a 'born-again' Protestant or Catholic, or conversely, those who had no religious affiliation, had more hippocampal shrinkage (or 'atrophy') compared to people who identified themselves as Protestants, but not born-again."
William Rashbaum of the New York Times: "Thomas D. Raffaele, a 69-year-old justice of the New York State Supreme Court, encountered a chaotic scene while walking down a Queens street with a friend: Two uniformed police officers stood over a shirtless man lying facedown on the pavement. The man's hands were cuffed behind his back and he was screaming. A crowd jeered at the officers." One of the officers -- for no apparent reason -- turned on the justice and "using the upper edge of his hand, delivered a sharp blow to the judge's throat that was like what he learned when he was trained in hand-to-hand combat in the Army." Read the whole story.
E. J. Dionne gleans some lessons from the exit polls.
Greg Sargent: "Scott Walker's victory in [Tuesday]'s recall battle is a major wake-up call for the left, Democrats, and unions about the true nature of the new, post-Citizens United political landscape, and it should force a major reckoning among liberals and Democrats about what this means for the future."
CW: I think Jamelle Bouie has the smartest take: "Where the conventional wisdom goes off the rails is in the attempt to draw broad lessons for November, and attribute motives to Wisconsin voters.... According to exit polls, Walker won 17 percent of Obama supporters in the state, and overall, last night's electorate favored the president over Mitt Romney by a significant margin, 52 percent to 43 percent.... For 60 percent of last night's voters, a recall is only acceptable in cases of official misconduct. For 10 percent, a recall is never acceptable. It's not that these voters are pro-Walker, pro-Obama as much as they are pro-Obama, anti-recall." Read the whole post.
Charles Pierce: "A star was born last night. You will now see Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, everywhere in the energetic precincts of the revived American right."
David Graham of the Atlantic notices that Mitt Romney told the Detroit News that "... as president he'd prioritize the financial interests of General Motors, its employees, and its customers over the interests of the taxpayer. That's a statement that seems to play right into the hands of President Obama's argument about Bain Capital, which is that the interests Romney served in private equity, while perfectly defensible for a private citizen, are far removed from the public interest that the president of the United States must serve."
Yahoo! News: "Union groups and their supporters spent much of Wednesday castigating billionaire donors, Citizens United and corporate power in the wake of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's victory over the effort to recall him from office. 'Texas billionaires' and 'multinational corporations' can 'spend unlimited money to sway an election,' American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) president Richard Trumka told reporters on a conference call Wednesday afternoon."
Washington Post: "D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown resigned from his seat Wednesday night, hours after he was charged with bank fraud, plunging the city government into a leadership crisis."
AP: "A jury dominated by people with Penn State loyalties was selected Wednesday to decide Jerry Sandusky's fate in the child sexual abuse scandal that rocked the university and led to football coach Joe Paterno's downfall."
ABC News: "Anders Breivik, the right-wing extremist who has confessed to killing 77 people during a murder spree in Norway last summer, played the violent computer game World of Warcraft nearly seven hours a day for several consecutive months before his attack, prosecutors say. Breivik, 33, already known to have a long history with the online role-playing game, was particularly absorbed by it between November 2010 and February 2011...."
AP: "Reports of assaults on women in Tahrir [Square in Cairo, Egypt] ... have been on the rise with a new round of mass protests to denounce a mixed verdict against the ousted leader and his sons in a trial last week.... Protesters and activists met Wednesday to organize a campaign to prevent sexual harassment in the square.... The phenomenon is trampling on their dream of creating in Tahrir a micro-model of a state that respects civil liberties and civic responsibility, which they had hoped would emerge after Mubarak's ouster."
New York Times: "Leaders of the House Ethics Committee said Wednesday that they would move ahead with a long-delayed inquiry into allegations of impropriety by Representative Maxine Waters after concluding that committee missteps had not denied Ms. Waters a fair hearing in the case."
New York Times: "Syrian opposition activists reported a mass killing of villagers by pro-government militiamen and security forces on Wednesday — if verified, the fourth massacre in less than two weeks -- threatening to inject a new surge of angry momentum into the growing international effort to isolate President Bashar al-Assad and remove him from power."
New York Times: "Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction whose imaginative and lyrical evocations of the future reflected both the optimism and the anxieties of his own postwar America, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 91."
New York Times: "The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday delved into the nuances of JPMorgan's trading loss, quizzing the bank's primary regulators about how the blunder would affect the outcome of Wall Street regulation."
Here's the New York Times' report on the Wisconsin recall elections.
Not reported in the Times account (as of 7:15 am ET), the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the one spot of light for unions and Democrats in the Wisconsin elections: "Democrats appeared to have assumed control of the state Senate with results posted early Wednesday showing former Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine) defeating incumbent Van Wanggaard in a tight race.... Results posted early Wednesday showed Lehman with 36,255 votes to 35,476 for Wanggaard with 100% of precincts reporting. The margin of 779 could bring a recount."
Washington Post: "Primary voters in California on Tuesday began to remake the face of Congress as a redrawn electoral map and new balloting rules promised a significant overhaul of the state's delegation, which accounts for about 12 percent of the House of Representatives."
More Blows to Unions. New York Times: "In both San Diego and San Jose, voters appeared to overwhelmingly approve ballot initiatives designed to help balance ailing municipal budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers." The San Jose Mercury-News story is here. The San Diego Union-Tribune story is here.
New York Times: "Greece is rapidly running out of money."